Key barriers to gout care: a systematic review and thematic synthesis of qualitative studies

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2018 Jul 1;57(7):1282-1292. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kex530.


Objectives: Gout care remains highly suboptimal, contributing to an increased global disease burden. To understand barriers to gout care, our aim was to provide a systematic review and thematic synthesis of qualitative studies worldwide reporting provider and patient perspectives and experiences with management.

Methods: We conducted a mapped search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and Social Sciences Citation Index databases and selected qualitative studies of provider and patient perspectives on gout management. We used thematic synthesis to combine the included studies and identify key themes across studies.

Results: We included 20 studies that reported the experiences and perspectives of 480 gout patients and 120 providers spanning five different countries across three continents. We identified three predominant provider themes: knowledge gaps and management approaches; perceptions and beliefs about gout patients; and system barriers to optimal gout care (e.g. time constraints and a lack of incentives). We also identified four predominant themes among gout patients: limited gout knowledge; interactions with health-care providers; attitudes towards and experiences with taking medication; and practical barriers to long-term medication use.

Conclusion: Our systematic review of worldwide literature consistently identified gaps in gout knowledge among providers, which is likely to contribute to patients' lack of appropriate education about the fundamental causes of and essential treatment approaches for gout. Furthermore, system barriers among providers and day-to-day challenges of taking long-term medications among patients are considerable. These factors provide key targets to improve the widespread suboptimal gout care.

Keywords: attitudes to health; gout; qualitative research; quality of care; urate-lowering therapy.